Humanitarian aid to Gaza is delayed until at least Saturday due to shipment inspection | International

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The difficulty of meeting the conditions set by Israel and the United States to allow humanitarian aid to enter southern Gaza from Egypt (that not a single package ends up in the hands of Hamas, the movement that has governed the Strip since 2007 and manages the crossing of the Palestinian side) has kept trucks with food, water and medicines that are running out in the Palestinian enclave blocked in the Sinai for days. The Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, traveled urgently this Friday to the El Arish airport - designated by Cairo as a logistics center and located 50 kilometers from the border - to try to unblock the situation. Although without citing them directly, Guterres has made it clear in his statement to the media that the aid has not crossed the “conditions and restrictions” set by Israel and the United States, once there is already an agreement and that Egypt has removed the barriers of concrete that had been placed for fear of the massive arrival of refugees.

The pacts between Israel, the United States and Egypt for the entry of aid from Rafah, announced on Wednesday, include "conditions and restrictions," the UN official recalled. And the United Nations is now “actively engaged with all parties” to “clarify those conditions and limit those restrictions.” Guterres has stressed that the “verification requirements must be effective” so that aid can be issued in a “practical and rapid” manner. He also said that the UN must have enough fuel (which has been in short supply for days and whose entry into Gaza is prevented by Israel) to be able to distribute it among the population.

The UN Secretary General has lamented the paradox that within a few kilometers there are “two million people who are suffering enormously” and considered it “absolutely essential” that aid arrives “urgently.”

At least 145 trucks are waiting on the Egyptian side of Rafah loaded with humanitarian aid from Egyptian organizations, explains Ahmed Salem, director of the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, which has released images showing two rows of trucks with supplies parked right in front of the gate. In another video from the organization, volunteers appear in front of the crossing with banners, Egyptian and Palestinian flags, and portraits of President Abdel Fattá al Sisi. The rest of the supplies, including those sent by other countries (such as Jordan and Turkey) and organizations such as the World Health Organization and the European Union, are stored where Guterres landed, at El Arish airport.

Washington announced the permission to enter 20 trucks, but so far it has not happened. The United Nations emergency aid coordinator, Martin Griffiths, assured this Friday that aid could arrive “tomorrow (Saturday) or something like that.” “We are in intensive and advanced negotiations with all relevant parties to ensure that the Gaza relief operation gets underway as soon as possible,” Griffiths said, quoted by a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The delay in the agreement is not only due to disagreements over the aid inspection mechanism, but also to the issue of the departure of those with foreign passports from Gaza, according to the Reuters agency.

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The application of the agreement has run aground, despite the urgency of the situation in Gaza, with a million displaced and subjected to aerial bombardments "at a rate not seen in decades", as the Israeli army spokesman, Daniel, defined it this Friday. Hagari, in his daily appearance before the media in Tel Aviv. The pacts between the United States, Israel and Egypt only allow the entry of food, water and medicine. And only for the south of the Strip, from Rafah. There will be no supplies from Israel while the at least 205 hostages remain captive in Gaza.

Humanitarian aid trucks at the Rafah crossing, this Friday. AMR ABDALLAH DALSH (REUTERS)

Already announcing the agreement, Netanyahu made it clear in a statement that Israel “will not prevent” humanitarian supplies from Egypt “as long as they do not reach Hamas.” “Any supplies reaching Hamas will be prevented,” he added. Southern Gaza is the area where the Israeli army has ordered 1.1 million residents in the north to target - in a decision criticized by the UN and humanitarian organizations - and intended to facilitate the next phase of the offensive: the land invasion.

The president of the United States also insisted on that point during his lightning visit to Israel. “If Hamas diverts or steals aid, he will have demonstrated once again that he does not care about the well-being of the Palestinian people,” he said first in Tel Aviv, unveiling the agreement. “If Hamas takes them over or doesn't let them pass, then everything will be over,” he later stressed to journalists accompanying him on the presidential plane. Hamas (considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union) has a military and a political arm, which governs the day-to-day life of Gaza, with its ministries, officials and security forces.

On Thursday, at a press conference in Cairo, Guterres again called on Hamas to release the hostages and for Israel to give “immediate and unrestricted” access to the influx of humanitarian aid. That same day, the presence of members of Egyptian security agencies increased substantially, with a view to its opening, says Salem. Work also continued to repair damage caused by the four Israeli bombings that have affected the crossing since hundreds of Palestinian militants killed some 1,400 Israelis and kidnapped more than 200 in a massive surprise raid on the 7th.

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